War veteran is given Arctic convoy medal

Arctic Star awarded to Alan Vine, who served in the Merchant Navy during World War Two. Alan Vine, centre, with, From the left, great grandson Sebastian Sayers, two, Joseph Sayers, granddaughter Lisa Sayers, Kath Conner, son David Conner, daughter Anne Davies and wife Jean Vine.
Arctic Star awarded to Alan Vine, who served in the Merchant Navy during World War Two. Alan Vine, centre, with, From the left, great grandson Sebastian Sayers, two, Joseph Sayers, granddaughter Lisa Sayers, Kath Conner, son David Conner, daughter Anne Davies and wife Jean Vine.

A man from Halifax who was part of the Arctic convoys in the Second World War has been given a medal for his service.

Alan Vine, 90, was born in Hebden Bridge and started as a Fire Brigade messenger before spending five years in the Navy as a radio officer.

He earned five wartime medals before returning to the Fire Service where he became a divisional officer.

The Arctic convoys comprised of 78 ocean convoys which delivered essential supplies to northern ports in the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945.

Mr Vine said: “Churchill said there were two theatres of war that were never recognised - Bomber Command and the Arctic Convoys.

“We were attacked by 80 German bombers and the Mary Luckenbach was beside us at one point.

“I remember someone from the ship shouting to us ‘bye Limey - see you in Archangel’ just before this huge explosion.

“The ship just sunk - completely vanished. There was tremendous fire and black smoke under the water.

“The sea was covered in oil and fire and there were heads of soldiers bobbing around everywhere.

“Some would come back up for air but would just end up breathing in the fire and the smoke.

“I was very lucky - I saw so many men die a horrible death.”

One of his sons, David Conner, said: “He’s been just as active after the war as he was during it.

“He was involved in youth clubs, the Boys Brigade, organising holidays for children and fostering too.

“I think it’s fantastic he’s been given it. He and my mum have been such great parents - they’re a wonderful couple.

“Everyone in the family is so proud of him. We’d also like to thank Graham Baxter from Scope, who helped dad with the application for the medal.”